In Matthew 5:43, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” Now this scripture makes no sense if we just stop here, but that’s not the end. Jesus continues in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute you.”
But He says. One of the most difficult things for me to do is to say to myself, But He says.
When we are hurt by something and feel justified to return the hurt, we must remember, But Jesus says, “Whoever slaps us on our cheek, to turn the other cheek to him also.” Matthew 5:39.
When someone wants to make us pay for something we have done to them, and we want to fight back, we must remember, But Jesus says, “Let them have what they want and give them more too.” Matthew 5:40.
So why doesn’t it make sense for us to love our neighbors and hate our enemies? It could be because Jesus knows that we would not all know exactly what is an enemy. It is far better for us to love everyone than to risk hating someone who we mistake as an enemy.
Jesus also knows that we can be more like Him when we learn to shine brightly into the lives of all people—those we love and those who may not love us. God does this same thing. He makes the light to shine on the just and the unjust all the same. Matthew 5:45.
Where we go wrong is in this. We come to believe that God does not want us to be persecuted by anyone. And we would be right. We believe God does not want us to be used by anyone. And we would be right. We believe God does not want people to take advantage of us. And in this too we would be right.
No father—neither our heavenly Father nor our earthly father—would want harm to come to us in any way. God is loving as our earthly fathers should be.
But He says to us, while He does not want hardships to come to us, hardships will come because they are part of life. He says to us that even in our hardships He has made a way for us to get through them. We must understand that God cares about how we get through things, and He cares about how others get through things too.
So, we must remember, if we have an adversary, God is concerned about us, and He is concerned about our adversary also. If we have a broken relationship, God is concerned about us, and He is concerned about the other person also.
Remember then, we may say we will love only who loves us, and we may want to give to those who use us what man says is right for us to do. But He says, we all have thorns in our flesh to deal with. We can plead that God will remove our thorns. But He may not.
You see, sometimes the thorns—even thorns in marriages, even thorns with children—are the devil’s way to get us to act like we are not God’s children but our own.
So, God may not remove our thorns in the way we would like them to be removed. But He says, He will make a way for us to get on with the life He wants us to live, even with our thorns, because He gives us grace. Grace is what takes us through tough things. Seeing grace in us can help others—even those who may not live for us, even those who may not live for God—get through their owns thorns. Grace can lead them to live for the Lord and to stop living against you.
But He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Live a Delivered Life. Love you.